Jewish Communal Leadership

Leading Practitioners Share Lessons Learned

Dr. Ron Wolfson Fingerhut Professor of Education,
American Jewish University
Author of Relational Judaism

with Dr. Jason G. Goldman MA Jewish Nonprofit Management

foreword by Dr. Steven Windmueller
Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, HUC-JIR

Discover how to address the leadership challenges of building vibrant and strong Jewish communities and institutions for the present and future—a master class in Jewish communal leadership.

Jewish communal and institutional vitality depends on the visionary leadership of professionals and laity. Finally, here is a much needed practical resource that will assist both professional and lay leaders to carry out their essential work and achieve communal goals.
Frontline practitioners share cutting-­edge lessons learned from their success in leading many Jewish institutions and organizations—Federation, community center, synagogue, Hillel, day school, philanthropic foundation, professional association, and graduate school—in the nonprofit arena.
Renowned educator and organizational innovator Dr. Ron Wolfson, with an assist from his student and colleague Dr. Jason G. Goldman, invites the reader into his course Nonprofit Leadership at the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. In this unique book, each chapter features actual transcripts of conversations between the outstanding Master Class Contributors and the graduate students.
Designed as an interactive volume for leadership teams to read and use together, the book includes discussion questions to focus attention on practical application of the content. No topic is off-limits in this engaging, informative, and inspirational resource for addressing the challenges and opportunities of creating forward-facing organizations serving the Jewish community.

Rabbi Denise Eger
Zack Bodner
Dr. Erica Brown
Barry Shrage
Dr. Bruce Powell
Barry Finestone
Rabbi Mike Uram
Dan Libenson
Daryl Messinger

A remarkable resource replete with insights and anecdotes that have informed the Jewish journeys of some of the most important leaders in Jewish communal life . . . the unique opportunity to share in the experience of the graduate students with whom the journey unfolded.


President and CEO, JCC Association of North America

Like being in the room with some of Judaism’s most innovative leaders. The stark honesty presented in the book gives true insight into what it takes to lead the Jewish people in an ever-changing world. . . . A must-read for professionals and lay leaders alike. Whether you want to be a Jewish professional or work with Jewish professionals, the organic wisdom found in this work shows you a path in your own leadership journey and how all of us partner together to craft a vibrant Jewish community.


President and CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

In reading Ron Wolfson’s Jewish Communal Leadership, I felt like I wanted to rush back to the classroom; but Ron presents us with a remarkable gift—he brings the classroom to us! The lessons and insights from each leader, as well as the questions posed by Ron and the students, provide the kind of fresh and provocative insights into leadership that all who are engaged in Jewish communal life are hungry for.


Executive Director, The Natan Fund

As a community, we’re not great at learning from our great practitioners and leaders. Much of the wisdom and insights they acquire gets lost, as the Talmud says, ‘like a myrtle tree planted in the desert, whose fruits benefit nobody.’ In this book, Ron tries to remediate that by sharing lessons, dilemmas, and perplexities with great Jewish leaders. Good leaders don’t pontificate;they are reflective and thoughtful, and always willing to question their own leadership. We see this trait in these valuable conversations. We are all the richer for having this book.


President and CEO of Jewish Funders Network

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Reach out with questions or to bring one or more of the co-authors to your community.